SLIDESHOW: St Patrick's claim Limerick MFC ‘B’ Championship by the narrowest of margins

Joel Slattery

Reporter:

Joel Slattery

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sport@limerickleader.ie

St Patrick’s 1-10 Shannon Gaels 0-12

KYLE Mullins was the hero for St Patrick’s as his 64th minute free saw the city side score a dramatic MFC ‘B’ Championship success.

Any hope Shannon Gaels had of salvaging a last-gasp equaliser vanished when Diarmuid Hegarty caught the resultant kickout. Hegarty, a county minor hurler this year, made the leaping grab to claim the mark which sealed the win.

It was a game where the winners trailed for most of the hour played on a fine surface on a still autumn afternoon in Croagh.

It was only when Donnchadh O’Callaghan’s 57th goal, a low, hard shot which gave the ‘keeper no chance, did Pats lead this final for the first time.

Amazingly, O’Callaghan was the only Saints player to score from play as his 1-2 was key to their win.

However, it would have been a very different outcome had it not been for the Rhebogue club’s goalkeeper, Cian O’Brien, whose two stunning second half saves kept the city men in the game.

First, with 20 minutes to play and the west Limerick amalgamation 0-9 to 0-6 ahead, he saved Jack Sheehan’s penalty with a full-stretch dive to his left hand side.

The second top-drawer save came with 55 minutes on the clock and Shannon Gaels two points ahead when he flung himself in the way of Shane O’Sullivan’s effort – when a goal would have surely sealed the win for the defending champions.

For Shannon Gaels, they didn’t let go of their title without a fight. Led by Jack Sheehan, Michael John Ambrose and Johnny O’Sullivan the amalgamation of Glin and Gerald Griffins will wonder how they let this game slip.

Ambrose kicked three first half points as the west champions brought an 0-8 to 0-5 lead into the interval.

With Fionn Henderson, Conor Shine and Sheagh O’Connor also on the scoreboard, Gaels were playing an attractive brand of football and were well worth their lead at the break.

However, helped by two O’Callaghan points and a Travis Quaid free, St Patrick’s were within touching distance.

Jack Sheehan got Shannon Gaels’ second half scoring underway before the west side were awarded a penalty.

Sheehan stepped up but his effort was saved by the aforementioned O’Brien.

To the Shannon Gaels captain’s credit, he stepped up just a minute later to slot a free to increase the lead to 0-10 to 0-6.

They had another goal chance in the 46th minute when Johnny O’Sullivan had the goal at his mercy. However, under pressure from ‘keeper O’Brien who was closing him down, his effort went just over the bar.

Five points down and looking second best, Pats, under the management of Mark Phelan, began to close the gap. Kyle Mullins kicked three frees to reduce the gap to just two with time running out.

That was when O’Callaghan got the crucial goal – his cool finish giving his side their first lead with time running out.

Johnny O’Sullivan levelled the game in the 58th minute before, just when a draw was the most likely result, Mullins held his nerve to score the winner.

The winning score was Mullins’ sixth of the game on a day where scores were hard to come by and every point was earned.

SCORERS: St Patrick’s: Kyle Mullins 0-6 (6f); Donnchadh O’Callaghan 1-2; Travis Quaid (f), Scott Kirwan (f) 0-1 each.

Shannon Gaels: Michael John Ambrose, Jack Sheehan (3f), Johnny O’Sullivan 0-3 each; Fionn Henderson, Conor Shine, Sheagh O’Connor 0-1 each.

ST PATRICK’S: Cian O’Brien; Gearoid O’Sullivan, Sean Mortell, Conor O’Sullivan; Gary O’Halloran, Adam McNamara, Scott Kirwan; Travis Quaid, Diarmuid Hegarty; Donnchadh O’Callaghan, Evan O’Halloran, Nathan Shaughnessy; Kyle Mullins, Liam Neilan, Jack Collopy.

Subs: Adam Healy for Liam Neilan (41 mins); Pearse Shields for Nathan Shaughnessy (54 mins); Aaron Kelly for Jack Collopy (57 mins).

SHANNON GAELS: Michael Cregan; John D Cregan, Thomas Woulfe, Cormac Healy; Shane Creagan, Jack Sheehan, Paul O’Donnell; Jack O’Neill, Sheagh O’Connor; Hugh O’Donnell, Michael John Ambrose, Conor Shine; Fionn Henderson, Johnny O’Sullivan, John Daniel Hickey.

Subs: Padraic O’Connor for Fionn Henderson (41 mins); Shane O’Sullivan for John Daniel Hickey (41 mins).

REFEREE: John Paul Kiely (Fedamore).